Giant Bomb Review


Rocket Riot Review

  • XBGS

Rocket Riot is immensely charming with some light-hearted gameplay behind it that makes for some exciting multiplayer battles.

There are a bunch of different level themes, including pirate ships, haunted houses, warehouses, and more.
Rocket Riot looks and sounds like some kind of downloadable remake to a cult Amiga game that never existed. It seems like the remake of the sort of game that your closest British friend constantly pesters you about, chastising you for not being up on how popular the Amiga and the C64 were in the UK. That's not to say that Codeglue's Xbox Live Arcade game really has anything in common with Paradroid or Sensible Soccer. But it's just the general vibe I get from this fun, cool-looking jet-pack-based shooter.

The shorter version of an already short story is that a legless pirate escapes captivity and steals everyone's legs. Scientists come up with a jet pack that screws to your ass, and... you know what? It doesn't matter. The story pops up between segments in the single-player mode and serves as a cute little diversion that doesn't get in the way.

There's a whimsical art style to Rocket Riot that also gives the game a very light-hearted feel. In-game, everything has a blocky, pixelated look, but the camera perspective bends just enough to let you see that these are fully polygonal characters, not flat 2D sprites. As a little dude with a jet pack and a rocket launcher, you can fly around the game's blocky environments at will, popping off missiles in any direction with the right stick. While that technically makes the game a dual-joystick shooter, you have to cock the rockets back a bit by holding the right stick in a direction if you want to get the most movement out of them. Gravity takes hold after that, so you're firing a lot of arcing shots, forcing you to adjust your aim to compensate on longer shots. That concept--aiming your arcing shots to score hits--is the core of Rocket Riot. It feels right, with just enough control over your aim and how hard you launch your rockets to make the whole thing feel like second nature after an hour or two with the game.

Of course, there's a bit more to the gameplay than boosting around and firing rockets. Rocket Riot has a collection of power-ups to collect, like homing missiles, bigger rockets, faster rockets, a shield, one that repels incoming fire, one that makes you smaller and harder to hit, and so on. Furthermore, there are a bunch of different rulesets that come up in the single-player game. Most of the time you just need to kill a number of enemies to proceed. But some have you digging around through the blocks in search of a specific character. Or eliminating marked sets of blocks while fending off enemy attacks. Or another that has you grab a football and drag it over to a set of goalposts to score. The single-player mode also has boss fights that put you up against a bigger, more resilient opponent.

Most levels simply ask you to destroy everyone who gets in your way.
In multiplayer, the game lets you enter into standard deathmatches, or other modes like Golden Guy, where you attempt to grab a gold suit and survive for as long as possible while wearing it. Or Rugby Riot, which uses the same sort of ball rules as the single-player. Of course, playing against human opposition is way more exciting than playing any of the other modes, both because humans tend to be a bit smarter and because having opponents that don't die in one hit makes you have to think a bit more.

The only real downer about Rocket Riot is that it does begin to get repetitive when playing offline. Most of the levels are brainless battles against dopey enemies that rarely shoot straight, and the game types you'll see in each 10-level cycle tend to be identical. Plus, there don't seem to be too many people playing the game online at the moment, especially if you're looking for something other than a standard deathmatch. Of course, the game launched immediately after some Xbox Live technical issues, so it's hard to say how the player base will change over time.

With that in mind, you should know that Rocket Riot will eventually wear thin. But its great looks, clever gameplay, and huge roster of unlockable characters give you plenty to do, and the end result is quite a bit better than the game's $10 price tag might initially lead you to believe. If you're after a faux-retro jet-pack game with multiplayer modes or a more action-oriented Worms game, or anything even remotely resembling those descriptions, you'll probably enjoy most of what Rocket Riot has to offer. Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
27 Comments Refresh
Posted by Akeldama

nice review 

Posted by Six

not sure i want to pay $10 bucks.   i didn't get hooked by worms...  even tho i thought what i have seen so far to be interesting for this game

Posted by AlienGuy

I loved the demo, but there are just so many better XBLA games that are coming right around the corner. I'll pass for now.

Posted by Kornicos

now you mention it, it does remind me of the fun times had with games like speedball.

Posted by MassiveDuck

This game is great, there are so many stats to keep track of and try to get as high as possible.  and it's not that much like worms, seeing it's all in real time.

Posted by Jimbo_N

Rocket Riot has some of the best music of 09.
If nothing else I´d pay 10 bones for the soundtrack disc.

Posted by SaucySala

I love this game's look!

Posted by Trnck

Quick look please???

Posted by Kokaneez

yah a quick look would be awesome,  I been debating on this game but am not sure how good it will be in the end

Posted by H1VOLTAGE

Much fun! The characters you can unlock are funny as hell, I just aquired the Bananaman character, which is essentially a banana in a trench coat with a rocket launcher... It doesn't get much better than that my friends.

Posted by snoopeasystreet

Wish I had the money to buy this now. I love the art style.

I figure that this will be like most multiplayer focused arcade games and will lose a large number of the player base shortly after launch.
Edited by Strongparm

Rocket Riot kind of got lost among all the other releases this week and of course the delayed launch due to the LIVE downtime didn't help us much.  I'm not complaining, I'm not bitter or confused, honestly we're just happy that  people can finally play the game!   The folks at Codeglue and THQ have had a great time playing with everyone over LIVE and hope that we can build some interest in the game so we don't get lost in the crowd!    I guess what we're asking is that if you like the game spread the word near and far, and if you don't like the game that's cool too, we just need to sell enough to make a new game so we can address your complaints!

If you like the music you can find some ringtony versiony thingies up on our website...

Hope to see you online.

Gamertag: PArny

Posted by Media_Master

cool style

Posted by Death_Unicorn

I play 10 levels per day, to cut down on the repetition, but I highly recommend this game.
Good review.

Posted by GalacticPunt

Loved the hell out of the demo last night.  It stinks that Microsoft borked the launch of this game with the downtime/marketplace issues and forgetting to put it in their weekly Live Arcade press release.

I heartily recommend a Quick Look to remind Giant Bombers that this game exists and that it rules.
Posted by Proto

Looks like an awesome game. Love the art style.
Don't think there's enough variety to keep me entertained long enough to justify $10 though.

Posted by EgoCheck616

Wouldn't mind this on PSN.

Posted by darkspirit138

Cant believe nobody has said this yet...


Edited by 88Fingers

I like the demo, but haven't bought it yet... not sure why... I probably will buy it... later... today... maybe... lol

Posted by Crono

The review definitely makes a lot more sense after having seen the quicklook because when I watched just the trailer and then saw this... i was on the fence, the 2 seemed to be clashing.  But the game really looks awesome and I have $10 of MS points on my account already... so why not?

Posted by RHCPfan24

Looks like pure FUN. Will check out.

Posted by Tiz

Yes! This really does have that Amiga game vibe to it that I love. It's been a while since there was a game on XBLA that I wanted to buy, and I really like to buy great smaller games like this. There were no games available to play a quick game online, but once I hosted a game it got full rather quickly and it was a blast.

Posted by Wokisan

Best...story...ever. LOL. Cracks me up, the pirate somehow steals the legs off of EVERYONE in town without waking them. They all wake up and notice that their legs are gone. lol. I'm really enjoying the game and it's goofiness. The song is quite funny as well. Best 2 power ups....the HUGE rocket that devastates everything in its path and the flag which'll see once you get it.. Muhahahaha!

Posted by kyle18

this game is pretty awesome bought it right after playing the demo.  Multiplayer gets crazy with all the pixels and rockets flying everywhere. Worth the $10 for sure go buy it.

Posted by Ouroboros

Please to those who havent bought it, please buy it - i just spent the last hour and a half going back between different MP battles.  It's now midnight here and we saw active games throughout the night - I'm going to check again to see if people are playing during the peak hours but more people need to get this game, its amazing.

Posted by TuftyMcTavish

Having the SP gameplay wear thin after a while worries me a tad as I'm not really an online gamer other than with those on my friends list. And most of them aren't all that adventurous when it comes to picking up new games so I've got several MP-capable games I can't really play.

Posted by WEGGLES

Love the game, but the tedious difficulty is wearing thin.

If you're going to have me kill 80 enemies at least give me 3 lives. Or some powerups. Or don't make them crowd me. The One Man Army mission especially. It's exceptionally frustrating how difficult it is. It reminds me of all the old games that were exceptionally hard because they were short. But this game isn't short, and it's cheap anywho. It's not that I don't like a challenge. I do. But this is just annoying. There's hardly any powerups, and to get down to 15 to go and die and be back at square one is infuriating. Then for them to bum rush you. Bump into you.You go to a dead stop for a second/second and a half... then you die. It's not fun anymore. I want to beat it, but at this point it's not entertaining, I'd rather play something else. The frist 50 levels were a blast. But when you want me to kill 80 fest, accurate and rapid shooting dudes in a row with out dying (and only being able to take 2 hits before dying) it's just rediculous.